Stopping COVID-19 Delta Variant Spread: Let’s Lean on Dr. M.L. King’s Words of Wisdom
What else can, and should be done to stop the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant in the United States of America (USA), and in other countries around the world?
Although this article focusses on the USA, the ideas and call to action apply in all nations where vaccine hesitancy and skepticism are driving the rise in coronavirus infections.
The federal government in USA, many of the state governments, the CDC, FDA, Pharmaceutical companies and Infectious Disease experts have done so much to change the minds of millions of vaccine skeptics.
Still, about 80 million Americans eligible for vaccination have turned a blind eye to this necessary noteworthy action.
Unable to reach a high enough overall national immunity level due to ongoing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy/refusal to receive the vaccine, President Biden has appropriately muscularized the federal efforts.
Hopefully, the President’s new robust executive action for combatting the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant announced on September 9, 2021 will move the needle sharply in a possitive direction.
As America strains under the weight of assault from this Delta variant of COVID-19, both the vaccinated and unvaccinated can benefit from Dr. Martin Luther King’s admonition to his fellow Pastors who were on the sideline in the epic battle he was fighting nearly six decades ago.
One line from that masterpiece: “Letter from Birmingham Jail” April 16, 1963 reads:
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one affects all indirectly”.
Although the context, the social milieu and the times are quite different, the utility of the quote is similar at least in one respect. The end game in terms of suffering, pain, morbidity, and mortality.
COVID-19 pandemic and the Delta variant have punched gaping holes in our single garment of destiny, tearing us apart in the USA with significant anxiety, uncertainty, and suffering.
It behooves us, especially the vaccinated, to fill those deep holes in our single garment of destiny.
The conspiracy theorists and prophets of misinformation are roaming free both in the visible web and the dark web. Sadly, they have very little problem gaining believers and adherents.
Clarion Call For Collective Social Responsibility
It’s now up to team mates on sport teams, teachers in schools, colleagues at work, fellow parishioners in worship houses, neighbors and family members in communities to do the heavy lifting of convincing the skeptics.
The facts are indisputable.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 99.5% of COVID-19 deaths in the United States are among unvaccinated people.
99% of people on ventilators in the USA are unvaccinated.
Unvaccinated People Are More Than 15 Times More Likely to Die From COVID-19 Compared to Vaccinated People
Hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus are increasing among teens and children; https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/514379-teen-and-children-hospitalizations-and-deaths-from the-coronavirus
We, the vaccinated, cannot afford to remain on the sidelines and leave the drumming of the benefit-risk ratio of getting vaccinated to the authorities alone.
That anti-government mindset; “You can’t tell me what to do, I don’t trust the government” is the greatest gift anyone can give to this virus. That type of conviction allows the virus to roam free and replicate, not only among the unvaccinated but among children who are not yet eligible for vaccination.
Let’s Genuinely Be Thankful To The Heroes of This Pandemic
Hospitals are at a breaking point in some states.
The physical, emotional and psychological toil on doctors, nurses, and all the medical and non-medical personnel in the nation’s hospitals is readily palpable. Indeed, those of us who have been in their shoes can feel their anguish.
The best way to demonstrate de facto appreciation and have compassion for our frontline healthcare workers is not to overwhelm the hospitals and the healthcare system.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get the vaccine. The efficacy and safety have been shown in millions of our fellow human beings across the globe.
The “Extremism” of Acceptance or Rejection of Science
There is another fairly long segment in that ‘Letter’ where Dr. King appealed to the ‘inner being’ of the Pastors, Reverends and Bishops, nudging them to see beyond themselves.
It is a fierce defense of “extremism for love, truth and goodness”.
Today the political discourse in the USA is so polarized with the majority immovably anchored at the extreme ends of this single garment of destiny.
Sadly, this polarization has found its way deep into the coronavirus pandemic debate.
The opponents of vaccination see the proponents of vaccination as extremists and vice-versa.
Now, I am not suggesting that the extremism on any particular side is consciously intended for hatred, falsehood or evil.
Nonetheless, whatever the intentions are, the consequences of refusing to get the vaccine are certainly neither pretty nor desirous particularly for our children and the unvaccinated.
As Dr. King stated in the letter:
“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be”.
Are we going to be extremists whose actions protect those who are not yet eligible for vaccination?
Are we going to be extremists whose actions protect those already vaccinated but are immunocompromised or suffering from severe chronic diseases and thus are more vulnerable to breakthrough infection with the virus?
Or are we going to be extremists whose actions will provide a fertile soil for the virus to thrive and put children and the vulnerable at risk of significant morbidity and even death?
The choice is obvious.
This is existentially and morally not a first amendment question. It is a question of collective survival. It is a question of finally being on a sustained track to put the nightmare of COVID-19 behind us.
At the very least we can answer this call the right way for the sake of our children, the future of this great Republic. Please get the vaccine — NOW !